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MSI N580GTX Lightning Review

By on March 25, 2011
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The overclocking champion returns.

Good: Extremely quiet, Very cool, Ample room for overclocking, Easy and safe voltage increase
Bad: Very large, Does get loud when voltage is increased significantly
Price: AED 1,900
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Last year I looked at MSI’s N480GTX Lightning card which was one of the most overclockable GTX 480 in the market. As such, the N580GTX Lightning had big shoes to fill, and I was wondering if it could exceed my expectations.

Starting things off, let’s look at this giant. The MSI N580GTX Lightning has a huge Twin Frozr III heatsink on top, complimented by two 9CM PWM fans which run at 1k rpm, jumping to 1.4k during load. This whole design was not only to keep the GTX 580 extremely cool, but much quieter than the reference GTX 580 fan.

The entire heatsink is one single block, covering the entire card, and the two 8mm pipes helping distribute heat evenly. Obviously all of this leads to the N580GTX Lightning’s 30.5cm length, so make sure your case can support it!

Of course, the N580GTX Lightning doesn’t just have the Twin Frozr III to thank for its cool and quiet operations; much of the design process was also focused on power delivery with the help of 16-phase power connectors, 12 of which are dedicated to the GPU, double that of reference cards. This increase in current is also accompanied with an 8+8 pin power connector as opposed to the 8+6 pin reference design. Speaking of which, the minimum power supply requirements for the N580GTX Lightning is a 700W PSU.

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About

From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

Comments
  • Colaxs

    hi taimoor

    nice review and looks like msi hit it on the head with the pricing. Just a quick question. How loud were the fans at stock volts, under load?

    • http://twitter.com/taimoorh Taimoor Hafeez

      At full load the fans were slightly loud. Think of it like a car’s a/c at low speeds. Nothing loud, but audible enough that you can hear the air rushing out. It was still quieter than reference Nvidia GTX 580 though.

      At idle you won’t be able to hear the fans unless you put your ear next to them!

      • Colaxs

        oh thanks. And how far were you able to OC it at stock volts?

        • http://twitter.com/taimoorh Taimoor Hafeez

          Using stock voltage I got it up to 885Mhz. Factory speeds were 840MHz and reference Nvidia speeds are 772MHz.

          • Billgate49

            How much money $ off this card?

          • Billgate49

            How much money $ off this card?

          • Billgate49

            How much money $ off this card?

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  • Luay

    Thanks Taimoor. This new Twin Frozr III cooler gives cards near Direct CUII overclocking performance without using 3 slots. It’s the best thing out there, and I’m planning to get the 6950 version for the right price.

    I was disappointed the fans at the highest possible speeds made a lot of noise, but then you mentioned that temperatures were at 64°C! A card can go up to 80°C without a problem so:

    Is it possible to manually slow the fans down and allow the card to go past 64°C and become more quite?

    • http://twitter.com/taimoorh Taimoor Hafeez

      At full speeds the fans aren’t loud IF you don’t increase the stock voltage. Even if you overclock the N580GTX Lightning at stock voltage, the fans aren’t much loud under full load. And the temperature’s about 55C under load.

      When you increase the voltage to its limits, like I did, that’s when the fans get loud to compensate for the heat generated by the extra voltage.

  • NoName

    I’m looking to buy my self a GTX 580 and it seems to be this one :) but this card looks so big, is it a 2 slot card and can you do SLI with it? Do you know when you can buy?

    Thanks for the review :)

    • http://twitter.com/taimoorh Taimoor Hafeez

      Yes, you can indeed do up to 4-way SLI with this card, as you can with any GTX 580. It should be available by the end of this week in UAE and hopefully worldwide.

  • NoName

    I’m looking to buy my self a GTX 580 and it seems to be this one :) but this card looks so big, is it a 2 slot card and can you do SLI with it? Do you know when you can buy?

    Thanks for the review :)

  • NoName

    I’m looking to buy my self a GTX 580 and it seems to be this one :) but this card looks so big, is it a 2 slot card and can you do SLI with it? Do you know when you can buy?

    Thanks for the review :)

  • Storm_alias

    Awesome Review !!

    I am from India, I am thinking of buying the Card from the Prox Computers Dubai. Just cant seem to get in touch with them on the phone numbers you provided.

    Can I request Email address please :)

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  • Cantak

    Anyone know when this card will be available in stores? Can’t seem to find the release date anywhere

  • Cantak

    Anyone know when this card will be available in stores? Can’t seem to find the release date anywhere

    • NoName

      You can buy this card on many EU sites now. I don’t know about US yet but I think you can buy it next week or end of this month.

      Link to EU stores: http://skinflint.co.uk/eu/a625534.html

    • NoName

      You can buy this card on many EU sites now. I don’t know about US yet but I think you can buy it next week or end of this month.

      Link to EU stores: http://skinflint.co.uk/eu/a625534.html

  • Fdel71

    LOL less than 10% of improvement … 2 frames head and shoulders above standart ? this is a bad joke, lol

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